Christopher C. Dobbins, MPH
Chris Dobbins is the Director of the Gaston County Department of Health & Human Services. He previously served as health director, beginning in March 2011. He was raised in Gaston County and is a graduate of North Gaston High School. He holds a Master of Public Health degree from UNC Chapel Hill, a Bachelor of Human Resource Management degree from Colorado Christian University and an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice from the Community College of the Air Force. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy. Chris served 22 years in the United States Air Force, before retiring in 2004. He also served as the Assistant Director of the Gaston County Health Department for five years. Chris currently serves on a variety of boards and committees including the UNCC Public Health Advisory Board, the Governor's Stroke Prevention Task Force and the Gaston County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council. He is Vice Chair of the NC Public Health Accreditation Board, is Chair of the Gaston Community Healthcare Commission and was elected in 2017 to serve on The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) Board of Directors. In January of 2017, Chris was named the Health Director of the Year by the North Carolina Association of Local Health Directors.
Division Director of Public Health
Steve Eaton is the Division Director of Public Health for the Gaston County Department of Health & Human Services. Steve is from Hickory, NC and holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from East Carolina University, a certificate in Public Health Leadership from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a certificate in non profit management from Duke University, and has studied at the Center for Creative Leadership of North America. He joined the former Gaston County Health Department in 2011 as Assistant Health Director. Earlier in his career, Steve spent seven years as an executive director for two North Carolina Smart Start agencies and for the Early Head Start Program in Alexander County. He has more than 12 years experience in government accounting, contracting, financial management, strategic planning, community collaboration and board and staff development. He serves on the Gaston County Alliance for Children and Youth, the Gaston County School Health Advisory Council, Leadership Gaston's Board of Directors, and the Partnership for Children of Lincoln and Gaston County's Strategic Planning Committee.
Division Director of Social Services
Angela "Angi" Karchmer is the Division Director of Social Services for the Gaston County Department of Health & Human Services. Angi is a native of Gaston County and graduated from North Gaston High School. She attended Appalachian State University where she received her Bachelor of Science in Communications. Having been with the County for over twenty years, Angela was a Child Support Enforcement Supervisor from 1998 to 2003 and was promoted to Economic Services Coordinator in 2003. She then served as the Economic Support Services Administrator before being promoted to her currnet position. She was named an employee of the year in 2009 and completed the NC Department of Commerce Leadership Academy in 2010. In 2013 she completed the County Administration course and was selected as a LGFCU Fellow for the “Leading for Results” program, both at UNC-Chapel Hill. Angi currently serves on the North Carolina Employment and Training Association Advisory Board and the NC Workforce Development Training Center Board.
Velma V. Taormina, MD
Dr. Velma Taormina has been the Medical Director since 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and a Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Doctor of Medicine from the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. She completed residency training in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Kentucky in Lexington in 1994, where she was also an assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. From 1996 to 2004, she was in private practice in Gastonia. A fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a diplomate of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, she is also fluent in Spanish. Dr. T, as she is affectionately known, oversees all of the department’s clinical services and supervises its 24 physicians, nurse midwives and nurse practitioners. She also manages the development and implementation of the clinical component of the Electronic Health Record. She oversees the Teen Wellness Program and is a member of the Core Partner Team for Gaston Youth Connected, a program that is reducing the incidence of teen pregnancy in our county. She is one of 17 OB Champions for the N.C. Pregnancy Medical Home Program and is our representative on the newly formed CaroMont Health CEO Advisory Cabinet.
Economic Support Services Administrator
Cynthia Buchanan is the Economic Support Services Administrator for the Gaston County Department of Health & Human Services. Cynthia joined the former Gaston County Health Department in 1988 as a Food Supplement Clerk in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program (WIC). She transferred to the former Gaston County Department of Social Services as an Eligibility Technician in 1991 and was promoted to Eligibility Supervisor in 1993. Having been with the Department over 20 years, Cynthia was promoted to Economic Support Services Coordinator in 2014 and to Economic Support Services Administrator in 2016. Her knowledge and experience continue to guide policy for the agency in support of our community partnerships and initiatives. Cynthia is passionate about the work she does in helping families remove barriers to become successfully self-sufficient.
Cathy Cheek, BSBA
Public Health Business Services Administrator
Cathy Cheek joined the former Gaston County Health Department in 2004 as Accounting Supervisor, and worked as Administrative Officer and Business Services Coordinator before becoming Business Services Administrator in 2011. She oversees and manages the Public Health Division's annual budget, accounting, purchasing and receiving, and vital records – which processes birth and death certificates, front desk operations, business office, and human resources functions. Cathy holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Gardner Webb University. She also completed the Management Academy of Public Health at UNC Chapel Hill. Prior to coming to the Health Department, Cathy worked for more than 25 years in non profits, and state and local government.
Adult and Aging Services Administrator
Michael Coone joined the Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services Management Team in 2014, serving as Administrator of Adult & Aging Services. Prior to Gaston DHHS, Michael worked for Catawba County for eight years, where he was the Quality Management & Training Director for Family NET of Catawba County, a Division of Catawba County Department of Social Services. Michael has an additional eight years of direct care and management experience working with adult and geriatric populations with severe and persistent mental illness in inpatient and community treatment settings. In addition to Adult & Aging Services, Michael also oversees ACCESS Central Transportation. Michael completed undergraduate studies at Western Carolina University, a Graduate Certificate in Health Care Administration from East Carolina University, and is currently enrolled in a Master of Public Administration program at UNC Pembroke.
Curtis Hopper, REHS
Environmental Health Services Administrator
Curtis Hopper is the Environmental Health Services Administrator. He began his career with the former Gaston County Health Department as a field sanitarian in 1990, became a supervisor in 2000, a coordinator 2001, and was promoted to his current position in 2002. Environmental Health Services is composed of 15 staff who are responsible for food, lodging and institutional sanitation inspections, soil evaluations for septic systems, water well permits/testing, public swimming pools inspections, inspections of tattoo artists, vector control and childhood blood lead poisoning investigations. In addition, this unit provides lead staff support for the public health preparedness program. Curtis holds a bachelor's degree in biology from UNC-Wilmington. He holds a Certificate of Achievement from the Emergency Management Institute, served as president of the N.C. Environmental Health Supervisor’s Association, and was named Supervisor of the Year by this group in 2004.
Brittain Kenney, MPH
Public Information Officer
Brittain Kenney is the Public Information Officer for the Gaston County Department of Health & Human Services. Brittain is originally from Statesville, NC and has her B.A. in Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her Master of Public Health degree through the Public Health Leadership Program at UNC's Gillings School of Global Public Health. She has worked for the Gaston County Department of Health & Human Services (and previously for Gaston County Health Department) since 2007, primarily as a Health Education Coordinator. Most of her work has focused on HIV and STD prevention, teen pregnancy prevention, and increasing access to health services for young people.
Rebecca R. Lamphiear, BA
Economic Services Administrator
Rebecca "Becky" Lamphiear is Economic Services Administrator for the Gaston County Department of Health & Human Services, and held the same position at the former Department of Social Services, beginning in 2001. Economic Services bolsters the stability of economically fragile children, families and adults through state- and federally funded programs such as Food & Nutrition Services and Medicaid. Becky joined the former Gaston County DSS in 1989, working through the ranks as a front line employee, supervisor, and coordinator. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from UNC Chapel Hill and in 2012, Becky received the Outstanding Graduate Award from the County Administrative Course at the UNC Chapel Hill School of Government. Becky currently serves on the Community Health Partners Board and on the Leadership Gaston Advisory Board.
Carrie Meier, MPH
Community Health Education Administrator
Carrie is the Administrator over the Community Health Education Section of the Public Health Division. She is from Asheboro, NC and received her BS in Public Health Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and her MPH from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She previously served as the Parents matter Program Coordinator and then the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Supervisor at the Gaston County Health Department. She also worked as a Health Educator on the NC Folic Acid Council grant, coordinated H1N1 clinics at the Randolph County Health Department, and is a Teach for America Alumni. Carrie was awarded the NC SOPHE Grace Daniels Promising New Health Educator Award in 2012 and received the Gaston Youth Connected Spotlight on Leaders Award in 2015.
Melanie Lowrance, MSW
Children and Family Services Administrator, Social Services Division
Melanie is the Administrator over Children and Family Services for the Gaston County Department of Health & Human Services. She has a Bachelors Degree in Social Work from Appalachian State University, a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has been with the Department of Health & Human Services (and previously with the Department of Social Services) for over 20 years. Melanie started as a foster care social worker in 1995, was promoted to supervisor in 2007, and to program coordinator in 2011. She served as the Social Services Special Project Manager before being promoted to her current role as program administrator. Melanie is also an Adjunct Professor of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and serves as a mental health representative on the local Critical Incident Stress Management team.
Abigail Newton, MPH
Special Projects Manager, Public Health Division
Abby Newton is the Special Projects Manager for the Public Health Division of the Gaston County Department of Health & Human Services. She joined the former Gaston County Health Department as the Community Health Education Administrator in 2011. She holds a Master of Public Health degree from Oregon State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Before coming to Gaston County, she was Community Health Manager for the Lincoln County Health Department and was a research coordinator at Oregon Health and Sciences University. Abby oversees the health department’s teen pregnancy prevention, health promotion and nutrition, Girls on the Run, and the Childcare Health Consultant programs, as well as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). She is passionate about working with communities to identify and address county health problems. In fact, she is now fully engaged in a Community Transformation Grant that is working to enhance fitness and nutrition practices in the Highland Community.
Tereasa J. Osborne, J.D.
Lead Attorney, Social Services
Tereasa Osborne became Lead Attorney for the Department of Health & Human Services in November 2011 and leads a Legal Team that handles Child Protective Service petitions and court proceedings, child support, Adult Protective Services petitions and court proceedings, and advises Social Services staff on legal matters. Tereasa is from West Jefferson, North Carolina. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Appalachian State and a Juris Doctorate from Mercer University School of Law, where she was a Woodruff Scholar. She practiced law with a private firm, served as a JAG Officer in the U.S. Air Force, and was an Assistant District Attorney in Mecklenburg County for four years before joining the staff at Gaston HHS.
Special Projects Manager, Social Services
Joseph Shepherd is the Special Projects Manager for the Social Service Division of the Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services. Since joining the former Gaston County Department of Social Services in 2011, Joseph has worked as a Foster Care Worker, Foster Home Licensing Worker and Foster Home Licensing Supervisor. He has previously worked in the substance abuse field, with at-risk adolescents and is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom III. Joseph holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from UNC-Charlotte.
Business Services Administrator, Social Services Division
Dana Sisk joined the Gaston County Department of Health & Human Services as the Business Services Administrator in 2015. She oversees and manages the annual budget, and accounting functions for the agency. She previously worked for more than eight years as a Regional Program Representative/Local Business Liaison with the N.C. Division of Social Services, providing fiscal and administrative management for more than 25 counties, including Gaston and the Eastern Band of Cherokee counties. From 1991 to 2007, Dana worked for the Burke County Department of Social Services in several capacities, including Administrative Officer. Dana holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory and an Associate in Business Administration from Western Piedmont Community College.